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Healthy eating is important during pregnancy. It will keep you fit and well, and help your baby to grow and develop.

You don’t need a special diet, but make sure you follow healthy eating guidelines and enjoy regular physical activity.

Some nutrients are especially important during pregnancy:

Folic acid

All women who could become pregnant should take a folic acid supplement. If you do become pregnant, you should continue to take folic acid for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The supplement should contain 400μg (micrograms) of folic acid. Some women may need to take more.

Learn more about folic acid in our supplements section.


You should eat iron-rich foods twice a day. The best sources of iron include:

  • Lean red meat
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish

Iron is also found in:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Nuts and seeds

Having some salad vegetables, citrus fruits or a glass of fruit juice with your meals will help your body to absorb iron.


Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yoghurt are the best sources of calcium. Eat three servings per day.

Other non-dairy sources of calcium are:

  • Green leafy vegetables (like broccoli or cabbage)
  • Tinned fish where the bones can be eaten (like sardines or salmon)
  • Nuts
  • Soya products
  • Baked beans
  • Calcium-enriched juice drinks, breads or breakfast cereals (check the labels)

Vitamin D

Vitamin D can be made through exposure to sunlight (from March to September) and can be found in certain foods. If you are worried you are not getting enough vitamin D, consider taking a supplement.


Eat 1 to 2 portions of oily fish each week. Oily fish include herring, mackerel, sardines, salmon and trout.
Omega-3 can also be found in linseeds, rapeseed oil and walnuts. If you are vegetarian, you may need a supplement.

For more information on healthy eating during pregnancy, including common problems such as food aversions, heartburn, morning sickness and constipation visit

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